Is size everything? FXFOWLE try new tactics to stand out from the crowd in Times Square
It’s difficult to stand out in a big city, especially one that never sleeps. These images, captured by WAN’s photographer Wade Zimmerman, show the glistening new column that is Eleven Times Square. Designed by FXFOWLE (with structural engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti) and nestled in the heart of Manhattan, up close it is visually apparent that many intricate little details have been lovingly woven into the composition of this structure. But – and there’s always a but – as you pan out to review the 40-storey tower in its surrounding urban environment, the building gets somewhat lost in the folds of the concrete jungle and were it not for the immense expanse of reflective glass on the south facade, one could easily miss the recent addition to this iconic skyline.
In direct contrast to the hoards of cookie-cutter ‘built-to-suit’ New York City office buildings, FXFOWLE made the conscious decision to fabricate a ‘one design suits all’ facility, whose lease-span dimensions, core placement and structural design with few internal columns it hopes will appeal to businesses looking for a perimeter office arrangement or open-plan fit-out. The firm have also taken extreme safety concerns into consideration in this post 9/11 urban environment, with a concrete core protecting critical egress, elevators and risers, oversized emergency stairways, interconnected stairs with independent hardened remote points of egress and structural and facade hardening.
The basic structure of the building can be split into three separate but interrelated components - a six story ribboned base that wraps the corner of 42nd and Eighth Avenue; an outwardly sloped glass-clad ‘Crystal’ that forms a gateway to the 42nd Street corridor; and a 40-storey armature that addresses 8th Avenue and 41st Street anchoring the composition. Eleven Times Square may not soar above its NYC rivals in terms of height, but the 110,000 sq ft structure has taken advantage of Manhattan’s zoning paradigm, where buildings taper as they rise. In an effort to stand out from the crowd, a six-storey podium that terminates in a deep setback supports the building’s forty-storey ‘Crystal’, which slopes dramatically outwards toward the street line as it progresses upward.
Unusually, this modern office tower sports differing properties on its north and south facades. From the southern perspective – which is exposed to a much greater intensity of sunlight and heat – reflective glass and perforated aluminium sunshades sweep across the facade, catching the sunlight and reducing glare and heat gain. In direct contrast, the north-facing surfaces are formed of a sheer, unitised curtain-wall. This highly-insulated structurally glazed face has no exterior mullion caps, preventing heat loss at transfer points. Stainless steel rather than aluminium spacers were used in the glass units which are filled with argon gas in an effort to increase the insulating properties of the wall.